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November 09, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, November 2016

Click here to order the November 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Amway Research Provides Consumer Insights

The in-person, social media hybrid known as “social selling” is now commonplace across the direct sales channel, but hard data on the model remains scarce.

New research commissioned by Amway Corp. sheds light on consumer preferences when it comes to making the social sale. According to the State of Social Selling Survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, 60 percent of Americans have been contacted by a social seller. Of those, one third have made a purchase, and a staggering 85 percent are repeat customers.

What drives that repeat business? A few factors, according to consumers, who emphasized the importance of building trust, particularly by exhibiting knowledge of the product and the customer’s needs. Of respondents, 87 percent said it is important for a seller to use the product themselves. Three-fifths indicated they would not trust a seller who does not know the product well.

“Amway Independent Business Owners are often frequent users and walking testimonials of the products they sell,” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director for Amway North America. “When a seller can effectively communicate the premium quality of the products, particularly through using the products themselves, they will always be seen as more trustworthy.”

Another finding—the importance of cultivating relationships with customers—speaks to a strength of both the channel and the up-and-coming millennial generation. “…Young people in particular are proving to be a huge driver of the social selling industry,” noted Jackie Nickel, Amway’s Chief Marketing Officer for North America. “The relationship-driven industry appeals to their generation, particularly when they are contacted on social media by a friend.”

Having a trusting and friendly relationship with the customer helps to seal the deal, according to 83 percent of those who have purchased from a social seller. This will come as no surprise to veterans of the direct sales channel, who, with or without the aid of technology, are in the business of building social networks.

Vorwerk’s New Exchange Program Caters to Children of Employees

Germany-based Vorwerk is looking to foster relationships across its global employee base with the “One Family” cultural exchange program.

Since its beginnings in 1883—as a carpet factory—Vorwerk has grown into a diversified corporate group, deriving the bulk of its revenue from direct sales of household appliances, cosmetics and other products. Despite having a presence in more than 70 countries, Vorwerk remains a family-owned business, and that heritage is reflected in its new exchange program.

One Family opened in 2013 to the children of Vorwerk employees, who number more than 12,000 worldwide. Through the program, children aged 15–20 can sign up to spend a portion of their school holiday with the family of an employee in another country. In exchange, a child from the host family returns the visit at a later date.

“…The family is a defining element in our corporate culture,” said Sandra Krieger, PR-Manager Corporate Communications at Vorwerk. “We decided to set up the exchange program to let our children benefit from the international character and open approach of the company.”

Vorwerk not only coordinates the exchange, but also pays for each child’s travel expenses. Krieger reports that early feedback from One Family participants has been overwhelmingly positive.

Mary Kay Breaks Ground on $125 Million Global Manufacturing and R&D Facility

Construction officially is underway on Mary Kay Inc.’s new global manufacturing and research and development facility.

Company executives, along with local government officials, broke ground at the Lewisville, Texas, location on Sept. 13, the very date Mary Kay Ash founded the beauty company 53 years ago. The $125 million project is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2018.

“We are committed to the latest in technological innovation, and Mary Kay’s new manufacturing and R&D operations will be on the leading edge of design and production,” David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay, said in the company’s announcement.

Mary Kay’s existing manufacturing and R&D facility opened in Dallas in 1969. The 420,000-square-foot plant pumps out up to 1.1 million beauty products per day. Currently, 57 percent of those products are exported to international markets. The brand’s skin care, cosmetics and fragrances are sold through more than 3.5 million Independent Beauty Consultants worldwide.

Like its predecessor, the new manufacturing site is in close proximity to Mary Kay’s other North Texas facilities, including its global headquarters in Addison, a distribution center in Carrollton and a warehouse in Dallas. The building will comprise 480,000 square feet.

Chloe + Isabel Launches ‘Modern Muses’ with Fashion Photographer Mark Seliger

To celebrate five years in business, jewelry company Chloe + Isabel is unveiling a new “Modern Muses” campaign with celebrity photographer Mark Seliger.

Seliger is well-known for his portraits and fashion work, which have graced the pages of Vanity Fair, Elle and Rolling Stone. His new collaboration with Chloe + Isabel features seven of the brand’s real-life independent sellers, known as Merchandisers, modeling its new fall collection.

“In a world where everyone is so focused on celebrity, I felt it was important to highlight these real, extraordinary and passionate women who represent our incredible Merchandisers,” said Chantel Waterbury, Founder and CEO of Chloe + Isabel. “These ladies have made a positive impact on their families and communities, and in my eyes, that is the true definition of what it means to be a modern muse in today’s society.”

The company’s fall jewelry collection was inspired by four women in history and the traits that set them apart. Photographer and war correspondent Lee Miller represents The Hero; author Anais Nin is The Rebel; painter Tamara de Lempicka is The Maven; and artist and author Leonor Fini is The Artisan. Seliger took a similar approach to styling the brand’s “Modern Muses,” highlighting a distinctive quality in each woman.

“It was such an honor working with Chantel and this inspiring group of women,” said Seliger. “From the very beginning, the process was unique and creatively a delight.”

One Merchandiser who posed for Seliger is Mitra, who represents The Philanthropist. Mitra signed on with Chloe + Isabel to hone her business skills while pursuing a career in the male-dominated field of software engineering. Along the way, she has opted to donate 100 percent of her Chloe + Isabel earnings. Mitra is one of nearly 10,000 Chloe + Isabel Merchandisers nationwide.

Herbalife Fitness Experts to Support Special Olympics Community

Herbalife is renewing its partnership with the Special Olympics through a multi-faceted, $1 million sponsorship of the global movement.

The collaboration centers on fitness programming available to the Special Olympics community, including more than 4.5 million athletes in about 170 countries. Though it uses sport to empower people with intellectual disabilities, the organization is about more than athletic competition, said Kyle Washburn, Director of Fitness for Special Olympics. “We surround our athletes with a community that supports them through sport, health and the expansion of fitness.”

Through the new sponsorship, Herbalife’s team of staff scientists will supply nutrition expertise and educational content to Special Olympics athletes, coaches and caregivers. Additionally, the company’s Senior Manager of Sports Performance and Education, Dana Ryan, Ph.D., is joining the Special Olympics Global Fitness Task Force, said Michael Johnson, Herbalife Chairman and CEO.

During the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Los Angeles, Herbalife members and employees sponsored approximately 10 percent of the World Games athletes, and company facilities served as a registration hub for thousands of athletes, coaches and volunteers. The company also made a donation of more than 280,000 nutrition bars.

Natura Retains Spot on Dow Jones Sustainability Index

For the third consecutive year, Natura Cosmeticos SA has been recognized as a leading sustainability-driven company with a spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

The DJSI are published by S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM, an investment firm focused exclusively on sustainability investing. According to David Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices, “The DJSI are comprehensive benchmarks of companies that meet RobecoSAM’s sustainability standards and give investors tools to develop global allocations that reflect sustainability factors.”

Brazil’s Natura once again appears on the Emerging Markets Index of the DJSI. From a pool of the 800 largest emerging market companies listed on the S&P Global Broad Market Index, 10 percent are named to the Sustainability Emerging Market Index, based on RobecoSAM’s annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).

“This not only is an important recognition, but also reaffirms our positioning among investors who seek to support the development of more sustainable businesses and comes to serve as a relevant source of information for improving our practices,” said Jose Roberto Lettiere, Natura’s Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer.

The $2.4 billion enterprise is the only Household & Personal Products company to appear on the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index.

Wellness Firm Immunotec Reports Record Sales in Third Quarter

Canada-based Immunotec logged revenue of $28.4 million—a company record—in its most recent fiscal quarter.

Overall revenue was up 29 percent, management reported, largely driven by growth in Mexico, where sales rose 55 percent from a year ago. Despite higher sales in the market, the recent devaluation of the Mexican peso hurt profitability. The company’s bottom line decreased 46 percent to $0.6 million in the quarter ended July 31.

“We maintain our guidance to exceed $100M in revenues for the full fiscal year, but are concerned that profitability will remain impacted during the fourth quarter from further deterioration in the Mexican peso,” Patrick Montpetit, CFO, said in the company’s release.

Montpetit further noted that management has initiated a review of the company’s currency risk exposure and is working to mitigate economic uncertainties in its Mexico operations.

SimplyFun to Release New Games in Popular STEM Category

SimplyFun, a maker of educational board games, believes in the power of play—especially when shared.

That is why the Washington-based direct selling company teaches skills through board games, which bring players face to face across the table. The concept of shared play is at the heart of each SimplyFun game, including two forthcoming releases, Watch My Wings and Don’t Mix It! “Shared play connects you socially and emotionally with the learning, and adding those aspects enhances the longevity of the memory and what is learned while playing,” said Patty Pearcy, President and CEO.

SimplyFun’s new releases, which were made available Oct. 1, fall under the Math & STEM category, which is the company’s most popular, followed by Reading & Language Arts. Other games focus on Life & Thinking Skills or Social Sciences & Studies. The company’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) games explore how things work, said Pearcy, or how they can be put together or modified to serve a different purpose.

For example, Watch My Wings uses butterfly wings to teach sorting and comparing skills to young learners, ages 4 and up. The setting of Don’t Mix It!, for ages 7 and up, is a recycling center where players learn planning and spatial reasoning skills as they sort materials. As Pearcy told DSN, “These games help to bring academics to life. They take the dryness out of it and add some fun and playfulness, to engage kids and interest them in learning more.”

Organo Expands Portfolio with OGX Nutrition Line

Ganoderma products maker Organo is branching into weight management with its new OGX nutrition line.

Thus far, Organo’s wellness portfolio has focused on coffees and teas, along with a handful of supplements—all featuring Ganoderma powder, which is sourced from a mushroom used in traditional Asian medicines. With the launch of OGX, the Canadian company is looking to build a community of health-conscious customers who incorporate its nutrition products into their daily routine.

“Meeting one’s nutritional needs in a convenient and economical manner, given today’s fast-paced lifestyle, is the goal of OGX and a natural evolution for Organo,” Bernardo Chua, Organo Founder and CEO, said in the company’s announcement.

The first product in the new line is OGX FENIX, a whey protein shake formulated with Ganoderma, electrolytes and a prebiotic fiber. Each OGX FENIX order comes with the OGX Nutritional Weight Management Guide, which includes meal plans, exercise options and other health tips to help users maximize the effects of the product.

DreamTrips by WorldVentures Named North America’s Top Travel Club

DreamTrips by WorldVentures once again has captured the title of North America’s Leading Travel Club.

The club, which the company calls a “travel club community,” was recognized in the 23rd annual World Travel Awards, which showcases travel and tourism industry leaders.

“Our DreamTrips team works hard every day to create amazing experiences for our travelers and to deliver exceptional customer service,” said Wayne Nugent, WorldVentures Founder and Chief Visionary Officer. “We appreciate everyone who recognized us by voting.”

The World Travel Awards have named DreamTrips the top travel club in North America for three years running. Winners are determined both by members and by industry professionals. WorldVentures collected its award during a recent gala in Jamaica.

At another gala held in Italy, DreamTrips also earned the designation of Europe’s Leading Travel Club.

Avon Foundation for Women Releases New Data on Breast Cancer among Hispanics

A new study funded by the Avon Foundation for Women lays the groundwork for a better understanding of breast cancer diagnoses among Hispanics in the U.S.

The first-of-its-kind study, Breast Cancer among Hispanic Subgroups in the U.S., was conducted by the Sinai Urban Health Institute and released during the foundation’s biennial Breast Cancer Forum, held recently in Miami.

Drawing from multiple national data sources across multiple years, the new study, authored by Sinai Urban Health Institute’s Bijou Hunt, explores breast cancer prevalence and mortality rates among Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Central and South American women in the U.S. As a whole, Hispanics represent the largest racial/ethnic minority in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the leading cause of cancer deaths, in Hispanic women.

“As the company for women, Avon is committed to taking actions that matter most to women, and that is why the Avon Foundation is passionate about funding studies like this,” said Cheryl Heinonen, President of the Avon Foundation for Women. “We want to identify where the disparities lie so we can effectively shape and support programs that will have the greatest impact.”

The data shows that breast cancer mortality rates differ widely among the various groups that make up the Hispanic population. At the high end of the spectrum were Puerto Rican women (19.04 per 100,000 women) and Mexican women (18.78), while Central and South American women (10.15 per 100,000 women) were significantly less likely to die from breast cancer than other subgroups observed.

Direct Sellers Launch Products to Support Causes, Raise Awareness

Home fragrance brand Scentsy Inc. and nail wrap company Jamberry have both unveiled products to support their favorite charities. Scentsy launched its new Charitable Cause Warmer, a product supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children, while Jamberry is using its signature nail wraps to raise awareness and support for those battling cancer.

With a goal to raise $500,000 for the cause between now and the end of February, Scentsy has pledged to donate $8 from the sale of every “Love Heals” warmer to Shriners Hospitals, a nonprofit that provides expert pediatric specialty care for children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. At its 22 locations across North America and Mexico, Shriners Hospitals will serve more than 120,000 children this year.

Jamberry has launched a limited-edition collection of its signature nail wraps through its Commitment to Charity initiative, to bring attention to cancer. The new #TellYourStory collection features pink designs for breast cancer awareness, and with each purchase Jamberry will donate $2 to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

With its new campaign, Jamberry will help provide resources to women facing breast cancer. This year, about 246,660 women will be diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer, according to ACS data.

“When someone is affected by cancer they are not alone,” said Padma Rao, Chief Marketing Officer at Jamberry. “As a family and as a community we support those who are facing cancer currently, who have faced cancer, and who will someday face it.”

The #TellYourStory collection also is available in select international markets. Alongside ACS, the company has pledged donations to the Cancer Council Australia and the Canadian Cancer Society.